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Dark Eyes

“Dark Eyes”
Traditional Russian Folk Song
Performed by Reynold D. Philipsek
2015 copyright

“Dark Eyes” is literally the first song I ever learned. I was probably about ten years old.

The song was in the Nick Monoloff book my guitar teacher used (he did not use the Mel Bay method).

My grandfather, who also played guitar, also knew this tune as many Eastern Europeans did.

It is, after all, considered the gypsy anthem.

I learned this song in E minor and that is the key I still play it in.

It is commonly done in D minor, however.

I have been slowly developing my solo rendition of this song for over fifty years.

It has never left my repertoire.

Its Russian title is, “Ochi Chernye” (Black Eyes), and the French title is, “Les Yeux Noirs”.



Written and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek
2015 copyright All Rights Reserved

Every morning by 8:00 A. M, I have my coffee and start one hour of practice. The very first piece I play each day is “Chartreuse.”

It just seems to be a pleasant way to start the day.

I don’t often practice scales and arpeggios anymore but I did quite a lot when I was younger.

These days my practice regimen is mostly playing through the many solo acoustic guitar pieces I have accumulated both original and pieces written by others.

“Chartreuse” is, like much of my solo guitar music, both jazz and classical influenced.

This piece has a little Chopin in it, I guess.

Besides Django, I would say Chopin has been in the background of a lot of my stuff.


Holy Fright

“Holy Fright”
Composed and performed by Reynold D. Philipsek
2016 copyright Zino-Rephi Music (BMI)
All rights reserved

Toward the end of my mother’s long life, (she lived over 92 years) she had a form of dementia which caused aphasia. This means she could not speak and probably couldn’t decipher language. When I would visit her the last few years at the home she was living in, we would sit in silence. I got used to this because her doctors told me should would never speak again.

One day when a new patient was being brought into the fold, my mother took notice. This woman also had dementia but unlike my mother, this woman was very angry and acting out her frustration. My mother, who had not spoken in years to my knowledge, turned to me and said, “Holy Fright.” She then laughed. She never spoke again.

“Holy Fright” was something my mom had always said to express astonishment. Her saying this at this time astonished me.

I wrote “Holy Fright” in honor of this event.


Up Town

“Up Town”
Composed and arranged by Reynold D. Philipsek 2015 copyright

Keys- Gregg Inhofer
Bass- Matt Senjem
Percussion- Michael Bissonnette

The director of the documentary A Life Well Played” asked me to write a song especially for use in the film. He wanted to show the development of a tune from writing, rehearsing, and recording.

I was working on a song called “October” at the time and suggested that.

He liked the tune (which served as the main theme for credits as well) but wanted me to change the title.

So I called it “Up Town.”

The film did make the 2016 rounds of Film Festivals in the US and Canada and won Best Documentary Short for Rene Erickson (director) at the Highway 61 Festival.